CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here distributed about 4,146 land titles covering 317 hectares of public lands to landless farmers in Central Luzon in support of Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez’s social justice and equitable access to land resources, environment authorities announced yesterday.
Regional Director Francisco Milla, Jr., of DENR Central Luzon, reported that a total of 3,700 residential land titles, called patents, covering 83 hectares and another 446 agricultural land titles, covering 234 hectares, were distributed last year to at least 20,730 marginalized farmers and their families.
“The land distribution efforts are aligned with Pres. Duterte’s anti-poverty program in the countryside and are in support of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP),” he said.
He explained that providing poor farmer ownership of the land they till in the form of land titles is government’s modest contribution in promoting social justice and alleviating poverty in the rural sector.
“This is the best economic incentive government can give to landless farmers so they are motivated to fully develop their farms,” he explained, saying the land titles may be used as collateral when applying for loans.
Since 2011, the DENR has already distributed a total of 27,242 patents covering about 15,715 hectares of public lands throughout Central Luzon, benefiting well over 78,000 landless farmers and their families, reports showed.
Meanwhile, the DENR has commended its ten (10) employees, who have been a vital instrument in accomplishing more than 100 percent of its land patent targets last year.
“We recognized the significant contributions of our employees with a rank of Land Management Officer (LMO), Development Management Officer (DMO), Deputy Public Land Inspector (DPLI) and Chief of Survey Party in our land distribution campaign to boost their morale and sustain our gains in the program”, he explained.
He said the awardees played a crucial role in the issuance of 4,146 residential and agricultural free patents, which represent 106% and 112% of the agency’s 2016 regional target, respectively and will receive a plaque of recognition and a certificate of appreciation.
Norven Dilla of Aurora bagged the most outstanding LMO in the provincial DENR category, while Jude Villa of Tarlac and Rowena Magat of Zambales earned the most outstanding LMO in the community DENR level.
Other awardees for the most outstanding public land inspectors include Andres Viaje of Aurora; Aprilita Mendigoria of Bataan; Melchora Panganiban of Bulacan; Rovilla Casabar of Nueva Ecija; Ma. Jaina Lazatin of Pampanga; Edison Morales of Tarlac and Nelson Flores of Zambales.
The DENR has also recognized the local government unit of Botolan in Zambales for being supportive of the land titling program and has been an instrumental in the distribution of 300 residential free patents.
“Hopefully, these awards will encourage them to continue to strive harder and consistently hit our goals”, Milla added.
The DENR vowed to speed up the identification and survey of public lands for distribution among landless farmers, and is set to distribute another 3,100 residential free patents and 3,439 agricultural free patents this year as part of an ongoing effort to squarely address landlessness and promote social justice through agrarian reform.